Do the notes fly by faster in your music than your brain can comprehend?
Don’t worry. I think we all feel like this at times, especially early on in our music learning.
What you need is a little eye training similar to what we do when reading words.
Here are a few ways you can get a little faster in your music reading…
Music Speed Reading Tips
1. Look ahead. Force your eyes to move on scanning the next notes.
2. See an entire group of notes. Stop focusing on individual notes.
3. Don’t spend too much time looking at the flags or stems. Pay more attention to the “dots” or note heads on the staff.
4. Gradually increase speed. Be careful not to sacrifice accuracy in the process.
5. Start small. Begin speed reading a small group of notes first (like 1 or 2 measures).
6. Take breaks. Between each group of notes, allow your mind to rest for a few seconds.
7. Ignore the rhythm. Just focus on recognizing the pitch first. Add the rhythm back in once the notes are well executed consistently.
8. Use a metronome. In order to keep a steady flow of reading, start at a very comfortable speed and systematically increase your tempo from there. The metronome will hold you accountable.
9. Focus on 1 clef at a time. If you read more than 1 clef sign at once (such as a pianist), start by playing a group of notes in 1 clef first. Then, move on to the next clef. When all are well underway, start reading both clefs at the same time.
10. Don’t play. Use your finger to scan across the page naming each note out loud as quickly as possible.
I always feel like the best practice anyone can do is away from their instrument. Not paying as much attention to the actual playing will free up your mind to zero in on the notes.
What do you think? How do you develop more speed and accuracy in your music note reading? What has really worked for you so far?